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emetephobia - positive stories / support please

(6 Posts)
babyjames Sat 17-Sep-11 19:45:35

Hi, I am having CBT for my phobia of sickness which I have had for as long as I can remember. Its such a horrid phobia which has been controlling my life. I have been to about 8 sessions so far and have made some improvement with anxiety and did cope better last time my son was sick. I feel I have a long way to go still though. I would like to here positive stories if anyone has any to share about managing this phobia. It really does suck and I hope one day to leave a more relaxed life! Need a boost!

inatrance Sun 18-Sep-11 15:58:35

Hi, have you seen a Hypnotherapist? Hypnotherapy, NLP and EFT all work for phobias.

rodeoshoes Mon 19-Sep-11 21:33:13

Hi OP, I have suffered from this since childhood too & can happily say it is much improved.

I did fear being sick myself but it resolved in my early twenties when I loosened up a bit through vomming when drunk etc. It was other people vomiting that really troubled me, especially in public places. Public transport was a nightmare & I’d often have to get of buses/tubes to avoid a perceived vomitor. Boat trips, festivals or anywhere with really pissed people (the night bus was horrendous!), flights, fair ground rides – the list was endless.

I used CBT techniques, which were not instant but with practice definitely helped. I’m still aware of the panic & urge to run but am able to tolerate it. Bizarrely i trained as a nurse a few years ago and am able to handle the vomiting on the ward, people mostly do it neatly in bowels which I’m fine with & the forced exposure had helped.

Funnily enough it’s in nursing that I have met other emetephobics - loads of nurses suffer from this, which has helped too.

It has taken years of working at it but I manage it easily these days. The main driving factor for me was not wanting to pass it onto my children.

Stick with the CBT and consciously think about when your son is sick and how you are able to handle it and you will get there.

squashedfly Mon 26-Sep-11 13:21:09

Hi, felt I had to write to give you some hope and so you know that you are not alone.
Twenty years ago this phobia absolutely controlled my life - it started out of the blue in my teens and turned me into a nervous wreck - I honestly thought I would never be normal and hated it.
I have traced back to where it began, I had divorced parents and visited my adored dad every other weekend, he lived a 2 hr car drive away and I suffered (along with my sister) from dreadful car sickness. Nearly every journey to and from his house, one or both of us would chuck up in the car so it became a huge source of anxiety for me (but only regarding car sickness at this point). Tablets, wrist bands etc never worked and we both kind of grew out of it as we got older (now I just need to make sure i don't read and only sit in the front on long car journeys).
Anyway fast forward to my teens and i had a week where I was witness to three people on separate occasions being sick in public (twice on the school bus home) and within a week I felt a bit sick, completely panicked, blew it all out of proportion in my head, had a panic attack and there began my phobia.
it took over my life, I stopped using public transport, I didn't touch a drop of alcohol from age 15 - 21 for fear of being sick. I would always sit in an aisle seat in the cinema so I could make a quick exit and when in any confined space I would always mentally plan an escape route. I felt permanently nauseous and anxious and it was just awful.
So now for the good bit, I didn't have therapy, there was no miracle cure, I got pregnant with twins and had pretty dire morning sickness and still felt very panicky about it, but then once they were born I kind of didn't have the headspace iyswim for a phobia, put simply I was too busy to be worrying about it, so the constant queasiness stopped. However I still had panic attacks if I or they were sick (baby sick was always fine, just 'vomit' - sorry prob tmi!)
So I gradually improved but a real turning point for me was when I got an awful stomach bug. I was entirely alone in the house, felt as ill as ill as I could feel and each time I was sick I was too ill and weak to panic about it - I just didnt have the energy to have the uncontrollable shaking that I would normally experience, I just lay there waiting for it to pass. And what I learned after I recovered was that I was on my own, I was sick and NO ONE DIED!!! It was a horrible thing but it didn't last for ever, and I survived!! And from then on I felt like I was back in control.
So now all these years later I can honestly say it barely has an effect on my life - I still avoid ill people, I still dont drink alcohol to excess, If the children are ill I normally let dh do the comforting while I do the clearing up, stripping sicky beds etc and I accept that I will always be a bit weird about sickness. But it def doesn't control me anymore and I feel fabulous about that when I remember how bad it was for me years ago.
I know that my 'cure' isnt really of much use to you, but I hope that you will realise that it doesnt have to last for ever, you will learn to deal with it better and you can feel back in control again soon. Good luck, I feel for you and I really really hope you are now on the right track to recovery. Lots of love xx
Ps sorry about the epic post blush

Cartoonjane Mon 03-Oct-11 21:05:21

It is so comforting to read these stories. I too have emetophobia and although it doesnt control the whole of my life it is always with me and certainly at times controls me. I am undergoing CBT at the moment, in fact thats what led me to this thread; I was just doing my "homework" of looking at youtube clips of people vomiting and discovering that I cant even do that because of the panic it induces in me.

I do hold out hope though. Its early days with the treatment. Good luck OP. If youve made some progress already thats brilliant.

countrylover Thu 06-Oct-11 19:50:20

Very comforting indeed to hear other peoples experiences - it seems to me that the only way to get better is to be forced to confront it. My absolute worst fear would be to have a stomach bug and be on my own being sick with no one to look after me. It sounds as if that's exactly what squashedfly went through and along with other things it sorted out the phobia.

I've had the same phobia for as long as I can remember and I have struggled through two pregnancies and countless stomach bugs in the house from the children. Yet the whole time not once actually being sick. I know in the back of mind if I was actually sick I would realise it's not the end of the world. Not pleasant by any stretch of the imagination but not the colossal disaster that I think it would be.

Also, to give the OP some positive news - I actually had around five years between the ages of about 25 and 30 where I didn't have the phobia at all. I went travelling round the world (including India, Cambodia, Vietnam etc), drank far too much and did all the things that an emetophobe wouldn't even consider. It was only since having children that it's come back - bloody kids! wink

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